CUNY SPH receives $250,000 from KKR Grants and COVID-19 Relief Effort

Jan. 4, 2022
smiling woman in classroom

Two-year grant will expand unique Career Skills Academy advancing job opportunities for public health graduate students

New York, NY – The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) has been awarded $250,000 from KKR Grants to support the Career Skills Academy enhancing employment and advancement opportunities for public health graduate students from low- to moderate-income communities.

The grant is part of the KKR COVID-19 Relief Effort and supports CUNY SPH’s mission of social justice and greater healthcare outcomes for all. The Career Skills Academy prepares a workforce-ready student body to immediately improve public health equity through their chosen professions in the government, non-profit, and for-profit sectors. 

Importantly, the Academy augments CUNY SPH’s top-ranked education and research program – the “hard skills” of public health — by focusing on the “soft” skills that are crucial to job attainment and retention. This is particularly important for a student body that is predominantly diverse and harkens from neighborhoods facing inequities in economic and education access. 

“This grant will significantly expand enrollment in our Career Skills Academy that advances students’ career success in achieving higher paying and more responsible positions,” says CUNY SPH Dean Ayman El-Mohandes. “For many of our students who are first-generation graduate students or children of immigrant families, this provides them with a vital piece of preparation.”

The grant will enable 30 additional students to enroll in the Academy each year for a total 60 over two years; and 86 students will receive enhanced career support wraparound services annually, totaling 172 over two years, which represents 17 percent of the student body. The funding will facilitate 30-40 new relationships with potential employers, and an initiative that can pair 50 percent of interested students with job or informational interviews. Students will also receive stipends to help with professional development expenses.

“With 80 percent of our graduates joining the city’s workforce, students are not just looking to impact public health through their education,” Dr. El-Mohandes added. “They are looking to improve the health and wellbeing of their families, neighborhoods and the city.”

CUNY SPH students are predominately BIPOC, with 77 percent under the age of 34 and 80 percent female, and come from NYC neighborhoods that face chronic negative public health outcomes. Forty percent of our students are the first in their family to attend graduate school and 24 percent are children of immigrants.

“This generous grant will enable CUNY SPH to help bridge inequities that many of our students face, says Adam Doyno, Executive Director, CUNY SPH Foundation. “Armed with an outstanding education and real-world skills, our students can fulfill their aspirations and contribute to a healthier New York.”

About KKR:

KKR is a leading global investment firm that offers alternative asset management and capital markets and insurance solutions. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and supporting growth in its portfolio companies and communities. KKR sponsors investment funds that invest in private equity, credit and real assets and has strategic partners that manage hedge funds. KKR’s insurance subsidiaries offer retirement, life and reinsurance products under the management of The Global Atlantic Financial Group. References to KKR’s investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds and insurance subsidiaries. For additional information about KKR & Co. Inc. (NYSE: KKR), please visit KKR’s website at and on Twitter @KKR_Co.


The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) is committed to teaching, research, and service that creates a healthier New York City and helps promote equitable, efficient, and evidence-based solutions to pressing health problems facing cities around the world. Located in Harlem, CUNY SPH is the top-ranked public school of public health in New York City, New York State, and the tristate region.

About the CUNY SPH Foundation:

The CUNY SPH Foundation’s mission is to advance the achievement of CUNY SPH’s mission, vision, and values as New York City’s public school of public health through fundraising, building strategic partnerships, and providing services as a champion for the school’s students as they embark on public health careers and its faculty as they work to educate the next generation of public health professionals.